In his last official appearance at the annual ceremony commemorating the end of World War II, Emperor Akihito on Wednesday repeated his "deep remorse" over the conflict that led to the deaths of tens of millions of people in Asia and elsewhere.

"Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated," the Emperor said in his speech during the event marking Japan's Aug. 15, 1945, surrender held at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, where he employed the key phrase "deep remorse" for the fourth consecutive year.

To the surprise of many, the Emperor first inserted the phrase into his annual speech in 2015, when the nation marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the conflict.